A funny thing happened when I posted in the forum

Jacob van Ruiten books Delta Air Lines tickets from Seattle to Amsterdam and back in Economy Comfort. Then Delta changes its schedule and wants to charge him more. Is there a way to fix this? And what does this have to do with a forum? Find out.

Question

My wife and I purchased round-trip Delta Comfort seats from Seattle to Amsterdam in November. Last week, Delta notified us that the return flight on Nov. 23 had been canceled. The airline reticketed us on a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Paris 2 1/2 hours earlier than original flight, then direct from Paris to Seattle.

I’m not pleased with the change. I found a nonstop flight the same day (Delta 9378, operated by KLM) from Amsterdam to Los Angeles, which was very doable for us. It was almost an exact match for our original flight.

I contacted Delta, but the agent wasn’t able to help without change fees and ticket price increases. Then I talked to a Delta supervisor who said he could book us on the flight and could waive the change fees and increased ticket prices, but couldn’t reserve the KLM Economy Comfort seats.

I asked for a refund of the $129 price of the seat upgrade, but he said he couldn’t do that because it was part of the ticket price, not a separate transaction. We agreed that if we could rebook on Flight 9378, we’d deal with the upgrade cost separately.

The supervisor transferred me to someone else to handle the rebooking, but then another agent told me the change fee could be waived, but he couldn’t waive the ticket price increase because it was more than 300 miles from the original destination.

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I was more than frustrated and angry, so I hung up leaving things as they were. I was hoping Delta would be more accommodating because they caused the change from a flight we chose purposefully for time and convenience. And I really believed that finding a way to make the change to flight 9378 would have made a difficult, unexpected situation acceptable to us. Not sure what you might advise, but would appreciate your input.

Jacob van Ruiten, Sacramento, Calif.

Answer

OK, before I answer your question, I know what you’re thinking: What does this have to do with a forum? Are we trying out some new clickbait headline? No, Delta didn’t reroute your flight to Rome, where you found yourself fighting for your life in the Colosseum. Although I have to say, that’s an interesting visual. If we put a Delta executive in there with you, I think I know who would end up as mincemeat. I think we all do.

Here’s what should have happened: Delta should have offered you a comparable flight in the same class of service when it switched your flight. When an airline changes its flight plan, everything becomes a negotiation — not an upsell. At any point, you could ask for your money back and rebook a flight that works better for you.

For details, see Delta’s international contract of carriage. Don’t let the airline push you around.

As I review your paper trail, I also see Delta is doing a two-step with its code-share partners. Oh, we can’t book you in premium economy on KLM because it’s a codeshare flight. Nonsense! These airlines have figured out how to share everything except responsibility. If Delta can’t man up, get your refund and take your business elsewhere.

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Now, about those forums

Before I get to the forums, a word about Delta’s Economy Comfort.

Did you know that Economy Comfort has less legroom than a standard economy class a generation ago? Did you know that most of the amenities it sells as a premium seat used to be included?

How dare they?

Well, I know how. It’s called greed. Awful for passengers, but great for shareholders.

So here’s your happy ending: I referred your case to our able team of forum advocates, and they furnished you with all the information you needed.

You reached out to a Delta manager — no gladiator battles necessary on this one — and pleaded your case. Delta rebooked you on that Los Angeles flight you wanted and refunded your upgrade charges, which will allow you to re-upgrade to a class of service that should be a bare minimum for all airline passengers.

But I digress. Problem solved.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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